Son of Zorn: Radioactive Ex-Girlfriend – Plus One (Review)

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Son of Zorn manages to beat its record for outlandish storylines with “Radioactive Ex-Girlfriend.” Edie and Craig send out invitations for their engagement party and invite Zorn. They do not, however, give him the option of a “plus one.” Edie’s ex is not overly impressed by the oversight and he decides to bring a former flame to the party.

Radiana is an ex that spells trouble for Zorn in more ways than one. She is not only radioactive but the green goddess is jealous and possessive.  As the two spend time having sex repeatedly, Zorn is getting radiation poisoning.

Alan wants to do something special for his mother’s and Craig’s engagement party. He decides to play the “glass harp” aka crystal water glasses.  Edie is not pleased at the announcement since Alan “sucks” at anything musical.

Alan is excited about playing the glass harp for Edie and Craig and he is hoping to impress Layla with his nonexistent musical skills.

Meanwhile everyone tells Zorn that Radiana is literally not good for him. As the days go by, he starts spitting glowing phlegm and has green stuff under his eyes. By the time the engagement party arrives, Zorn is a shadow of his former self.

His hair is falling out, as well as a few teeth, there are green radiation sores all over his body and he cannot stand on his own. Radiana is killing him. Alan has to take him to the toilet and since Zorn cannot stand, he sits on the toilet instead.

Alan goes to bring Radiana into the toilet and Zorn breaks up with her. The radioactive woman starts to have a literal meltdown. Craig, who has been trying to get everyone to let him be their therapist, talks Radiana down.

By the end of the episode, Zorn is single again, and alive, Edie is proud of Alan for “trying” to play the glass harp and Linda suggests that she and Zorn go and “bang those two waiters over there.”

“Radioactive Ex-Girlfriend” dips even further into the realm of surrealistic humor. We all know that Zorn’s radioactive poisoning will be cured by the next episode, just as it is a certainty that no “real” person will be affected by the radiation.

Craig continues to be the unsung hero here. His blandness, aka vanilla-ness, which is something that Zorn is accused of, is so overpowering it is amazing that he and Edie even began dating. Of course he is the total antithesis of Edie’s own ex so it makes perfect sense that these two would be together.

Less is made of Alan’s “lower half” in the episode, and the previous one, but suffice to say, if the romance between Layla and Alan continues it is bound to “come up.” (See what we did there?)

Sudeikis is still the funniest thing in the show, but the rest of the cast also contribute to the comedy. Pemberton is spot on as the awkward yet slowly accepting son, Hines is just brilliant as Edie and, as mentioned before, Meadows is the unsung hero as Craig.

Kudos to the show’s creators; Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne, for giving Artemis Pebdani and Cameron Monaghan more time on the series. Both of Zorn’s co-workers are funny in their own right. 

Son of Zorn airs Sundays on FOX.

CAST:

Guest starring Olivia Wilde as Radiana and Clara Mamet as Layla.

Son of Zorn: The War on Grafelnik – Child of Divorce (Review)

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Just when it seems that Son of Zorn could not p0ssibly get any funnier along comes an episode like “The War on Grafelnik.” We learn that Grafelnik, which is basically a retelling of Taken (or vice versa), falls on Christmas Day this year.

Zorn is excited at the prospect of spending Alan’s first Grafelnik taking revenge on all who have wronged them. He takes Alan out on a revenge run. They throw packets of raw hamburger meat on the walls of a restaurant and Alan is called to meet his father in a bad section of town.

Edie pushes for a shared Christmas/Grafelnik and as the divorced couple argue for priority with their son, Alangulon comes up with a brilliant idea. He pits Zorn and Edie against one another in order to get more gifts.

Alan’s friend Todd prompts the plan when he arrives with a new motorbike, leathers and a new helmet.  Alan talks with Todd about the disagreement between Edie and Zorn about Christmas vs Grafelnik.

This prompts the war of the title and it results in some unexpected results for Alan as well as Craig and Edie. Son of Zorn pulls out all the stops with a hysterically funny backstory that explains Craig’s phobia about Santa  Claus.

A child of divorce himself, Craig reveals to Edie that he is terrified of Santa. One Christmas his father, dressed as the jolly old elf, shows up and finds Craig’s mother with her boyfriend. The end result is a bloody Christmas morning where Craig’s dad, dressed as Santa, beats the boyfriend to a pulp.

Craig has been frightened of the toymaker ever since. Edie tries to cure her fiance of his phobia with immersion therapy which is unsuccessful. Even having sex whilst she wears a “Santa hat” does not help Craig with his irrational fear.

(Later in the episode, when Edie and Zorn destroy the Santa Village at the mall, Craig is enveloped by an inflatable Santa and the divorced couple traumatize a slew of innocent kids.)

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Zorn dressed as Grafelnik.

The entire episode is funny.  From Zorn’s appearance as Grafelnik to the Zephyrian-trained killer bees, the storyline containts a multitude of amusing moments.  Alan’s revelation that the story of Grafelnik is, in essence, the plot of Taken starts things off.

Zorn actually agrees that the film is a lot like the Zephyrian folktale. (Although he points out that the father and daughter are killed by a “shot to the head” and buried in the same grave in the Zephyrian verson.)  The revenge based holiday has snowballs made of rocks and includes a seasonal greeting of punching someone in the face.

When Todd attempts the traditional greeting, however, Zorn grabs him by the throat. Edie learns of Alan’s plan to bilk his parents into buying him more gifts and tells her ex about it. Zorn is disappointed enough in the boy that he joins Edie in destroying the gifts they purchaced for Alan.

There is a climatic battle between Zorn and Edie. She weilds a giant candy cane and Zorn uses his sword. This rather one sided fight ends iwth Zorn setting the Mall’s Christmas tree on fire.

By the end of the episode Craig still has his phobia, Zorn decides he likes Taken before releasing a bag of deadly Zephyria trained killer bees on his family and Craig.

This was a brilliant Christmas episode that had a lot of things factored  in to the storyline. (On a sidenote: Has anyone else noticed that Zorn’s bald spot is getting bigger?)

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Zorn vs Edie…

Son of Zorn airs Sundays on FOX. Tune in and get caught up in this live action/animation comedy.

CAST:

Guest starring Tony Revolori as Scott

Son of Zorn: Return of the Drinking Buddy – Party Down (Review)

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Son of Zorn manages to outdo itself with “Return of the Drinking Buddy,” aka Headbutt Man; a blast from Zorn’s past who could headbutt anything into submission. The episode makes the most of old pals who have changed greatly since their halcyon days.

It also addresses those friends foisted upon the children of old friends, via Headbutt Girl and Alangulon when they head to a party where Zorn’s son hopes to meet up with Layla.

The magic of this series is the effortless way it blends the animated world of Zorn and Zephyria with the Southern California setting of Edie, Craig and Alan.  Headbutt Man and his new partner Elizabeth (his “Edie”) come for a visit and, for Zorn, this is a chance to relive their glory days.

“Return of the Drinking Buddy” also allows us to learn a bit more about Linda, aka “Slayer Linda” at the bar, who thinks having Zorn’s old pal along for the office party is a splendid idea.

Headbutt Man does decide to join Zorn after initially being rather excited about the “world” crackers and cheese on offer at Edie and Craig’s house. Edie spends most of the episode thinking that Elizabeth looks familiar.

After a series of bad guesses, “Did you used to have a spider in the middle of your face,” asks Edie; Headbutt’s other half reveals that she went to summer camp with Zorn’s ex.

Both women dated the same lad and Craig calls the man to find out who he thought was his “main” girlfriend.  Meanwhile, Headbutt Girl, aka Dorothy Clementina, goes with Alan to the party. She expects to have sex and instead gets insulted by the other party guests.

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Johnny Pemberton and Headbutt Girl, voiced by Ashley Padilla.

Alan stands up for his “family friend.”

Zorn learns that Headbutt Man has been off the drink and no longer headbutts things into oblivion. He reveals that he met Elizabeth at a coffee house restroom, where she found him unconscious and covered in his own vomit.

“She cleaned me up,” says Zorn’s old pal but later the allure of the booze and the bar sets Headbutt Man up for a fall.

This was a funny episode that featured just a tad of tragedy with Headbutt Man’s somewhat sad backstory after Zorn left the scene.  It allowed Alan to show his kinder and less geeky side and Edie’s Zephyria days  surface once more with the reference to her punk hair-do and facial piercings.

As this is Son of Zorn, there had to be a double helping of ironic humor at the end.  Headbutt Man tells his old drinking buddy that doctors warned him to mend his headbutting ways.  Just one more injury to his brain will result in death, Headbutt Man tells Zorn.

Sure enough, as his pal goes to leave, Zorn tosses the car keys to Headbutt Man and his buddy misses the catch. The small objects connect with his friend’s head and the punch line is delivered.

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Rob Riggle manages to turn in a brilliant performance as the old reformed party animal.  Ashley Padilla is equally impressive as Headbutt Girl.  This could well be the highlight of the season. The disturbing flashback to Headbutt Man losing an eye to the unicorn he headbutts is gruesomely funny as is the car key induced death of Zorn’s old pal.

Son of Zorn airs Fridays on FOX. Stop by and check this one out, it is worth the effort.

CAST:

Guest starring Rob Riggle as Headbutt Man, Jillian Bell as Headbutt Girl, Artemis Pebdani as Layla and Alex Borstein as Elizabeth.

Zootopia (2016): Best Animated Film of the Year (Review)

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It is the mark of any good animated feature that the viewer forgets they are watching a “cartoon.” Pixar does this with amazing regularity, as does Studio Ghibli. However, Walt Disney Studios got there first, with Uncle Walt churning out animated films that tugged the heartstrings and featured stunning stories.

Walt’s films made us all forget about the unreality of singing mice and evil stepmothers who really were witches. We believed the stories being told implicitly.

(While we are waxing lyrical about animated features that make us forget that the universe we have entered is full of cartoon animals, the 2011 animated feature Rango was not produced by Disney or Pixar, it was a joint effort from several studios that included Paramount and Nickelodeon. This film was also a cartoon but one for the older audience members.)

With a staggering nine writers credited for creating the story and no less than three directors, Zootopia should have been 2016’s biggest flop. There are too many cooks and then there are way too many cooks, both of which normally spoil any broth.

This is not the case with this brilliantly told tale of a rabbit daring to dream of becoming a police officer in Zootopia. Judy Hopps, played by Once Upon a Time‘s Ginnifer Goodwin, leaves her parent’s farm and graduates as valedictorian from the police academy. 

She is made the Zootopia meter maid and a chance encounter with a robber turns her career around. But it is not easy. The beleaguered bunny has to fight Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) every hop of the way. Judy enlists the aid of conman fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and together they solve the mystery of the missing mammals. 

There is something here for a wide range of audience members. Themes include moving away from home for the first time and daring to chase your dreams. The dangers of stereotyping and the animal version of racism is also broached.

Over and above these lofty lessons provided by the nine writers on the film is the story. It keeps things interesting enough that even at a staggering 108 minutes, the film never drags.

The voice acting and the film’s three directors: Byron HowardRich Moore and Jared Bush (who are, incidentally three of the nine names associated with writing the film) manage to keep the action rolling, the story moving and still make the characters interesting. 

There are a couple of pretty decent plot twists and a plethora of sight gags, jokes and ironic moments.  Zootopia is, in essence, a product that could be seen as nigh on perfect.

Some gags are comprised of the filmmakers trotting out film tropes for a giggle. The tiny Mr. Big, an animal with enormous muscle to enforce his orders appears to be a shrew or a vole, both of which are very, very small.

The film is rated PG, no doubt for some of the more white knuckle antics of the film. Add to the frantic action some transformation scenes that might frighten the younger members of the audience and the rating makes perfect sense.

What makes Zootopia work so well though is the story.  It cracks along and works so brilliantly  that it is easy to forget we are watching cartoon animals.  The dialogue as well as the action moves the audience into a place where the animated bunny and her friends cease to become a factor.

There are some brilliant cameos in the film. Keep an ear out for perennial stoner extraordinaire Tommy Chong,  the delightful Alan Tudyk and the Oscar winning  J.K. Simmons to name but a few of the familiar voices in the film. 

Zootopia earns a full 5 stars. This is a Mary Poppins film – practically perfect in every way. It is streaming on Netflix at the moment and really deserves a look, or two…or more.  This is just one great big bit of fun that should not be missed.

Son of Zorn: Battle of Thanksgiving (Recap/Review)

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In Son of Zorn “Battle of Thanksgiving”  Zorn gatecrashes the Thanksgiving day meal at Craig and Edie’s house.  After running a 5K charity marathon Zorn gets runners rash and we learn that Zephyrian males have more than one penis.

Zorn decides to hang out at the office for Thanksgiving and bonds with Linda who hates the holiday since her best friend growing up was a turkey. As Zorn and Linda talk, he decides to invite himself to the family meal.

When he turns up Edie is going to turn him away and Craig actually stands up for Edie’s ex. She allows him to join them and the first thing Roberta does is make fun of Zorn.

Zorn does try very hard to behave himself, even extending his pinkie fingers while eating. Roberta picks on Zorn throughout the entire meal. She suggests that he does not know how to put on trousers. He takes Craig’s trousers and struggles to put them on.

Roberta cranks up her campaign against Zorn and Craig comes to the rescue. He tells Zorn to come look at the soda pop collection and coaches Zorn on how to deal with Edie’s mother. He just has to agree with everything she says.

Roberta scuttles Zorn and Craig’s plan by telling him about a documentary she saw about Zephyeria  online. The whole family go to watch the program. The show paints Zorn as a wanted war criminal and his enemy Vulchazor as the hero.

Zorn destroys the television and rips a strip off of Roberta.  Edie’s mother goes to her room, or Alan’s room, and Zorn rants about the documentary. He goes to apologize to Roberta and takes her a piece of snorkleberry pie.

Roberta admits that she hates Zorn and believes that he ruined Edie’s life. She takes the slice of pie and slams the door. Zorn, enters the room and finds Edie’s mother laying dead on the floor.  He got the pie rhyme wrong and has killed Roberta.

After practicing on how to tell Edie he killed her mother, Zorn calls Dr. Klorpins to see if he can save Roberta. The doctor helps him out and Alan has to find the ingredients needed to bring her back from the dead.

One of the items is a “bone of the beast” and Alan grabs the turkey wishbone. Craig tries to take it back and ends up following Alan into his bedroom. He offers to help bring Roberta back from the dead.

Alan gives his grandmother the potion and it does not work. Zorn calls the doctor who tells him that he has to kiss her for the potion to work.  Craig follows the doctor’s directions, “more tongue,” and “you have to chew on her lower lip,” and it works.

Edie is angry that Zorn killed her mom. He apologizes and leaves. Roberta finally offers to pay for Alan’s summer music program if he never speaks to his father again.  Edie talks with Roberta and tells her that this is not okay.

Her mother then admits that she was picking on Zorn. Edie is disappointed in her mother’s behavior and Roberta leaves. Zorn sits in his apartment watching the documentary. Edie, Craig and Alan turn up to finish the meal.

Craig acts all soppy and Zorn swears at him.

Highlights of this episode include:

Painting eyes on Roberta’s eyelids. Simple, yes. And it has also been done before but it was funny.

Zorn’s “Wow I should have killed your mother years ago.”

Lastly, Jenny O’Hara’s guest stint as the ex mother-in-law from Hell was nothing short of perfect.

As a character Zorn is actually changing as each episode airs. He is not evolving in great leaps and bounds but his behavior is getting fractionally better.

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The Son of Zorn continues to tickle the funny bone and manages to blend the CG animation with the real actors almost flawlessly.  (Check out the spray cheese can smacking Zorn on the face. It looks perfect.)

Son of Zorn airs Sundays on FOX. Tune in and get your giggle on.

CAST:

Guest starring Jenny O’Hara as Roberta.